“Monday Mystery” – THE GREENLAND BREACH

We’ve got a new thriller to announce from across the Atlantic, translated by the woman who brought us Les Miserables. Le French Book is releasing Bernard Besson’s cli-fi spy novel, THE GREENLAND BREACH, on October 30th.  It’s available on AmazoniTunes, and Nook, and should be up shortly on Kobo.

Have a look!

greenlandbreach_750x1200-187x300Synopsis

The Arctic ice caps are breaking up. Europe and the East Coast of the United States brace for a tidal wave. Meanwhile, former French intelligence officer John Spencer Larivière, his karate-trained, steamy Eurasian partner, Victoire, and their bisexual computer-genius sidekick, Luc, pick up an ordinary freelance assignment that quickly leads them into the glacial silence of the great north, where a merciless war is being waged for control of discoveries that will change the future of humanity.

Excerpt

(First published in French as The Greenland Breach, ©2011 Odile Jacob. English translation ©2013 Julie Rose. First published in English in 2013 by Le French Book, Inc., New York)

The Greenland Breach by Bernard Besson and Julie Rose (translator)

SUNDAY

Greenland, the north face of Haffner Bjerg, 6:30 a.m.

Lars Jensen felt the ground tremble beneath the snow. He straightened up and abandoned his position, petrified by what he was seeing to the west, toward Canada. The last phase of global warming had begun just as a big red helicopter flew past from the east. It doubtless belonged to Terre Noire, the Franco-Danish oil-and-gas company that was carrying out geological surveys.

From the rocky slopes of Haffner Bjerg, events were taking an unimaginable turn worthy of Dante. With a sound as ominous as the crack of doom, the Lauge Koch Kyst had begun to tear away from Greenland and plummet into Baffin Bay in the North Atlantic Ocean. A colossal breach a mile and a half deep was opening up in the middle of the island continent. The trench ran for miles, as if an invisible ax had just split the ice cap in two.

Terrified, Lars backed away, forgetting what he had come to the top of the world to do. He’d guessed that his presence on the slopes of Haffner Bjerg had something to do with the death of the Arctic. The advance wired from an anonymous account on the island of Jersey was every bit as incredible as the cataclysm under way.

A mist shot through with rainbows rose from the depths of the last ice age. Behind the iridescent wall, thousands of years of packed ice raked the granite surface and crashed into the sea, stirring up a gigantic tsunami. He pressed his hands to his ears to muffle the howling of Greenland as it began to die.

It took Lars awhile to get a grip. His hands were still shaking as the thunderous impact reached him. It was even more frightening than the ear-splitting sound. Greenland was plunging into Baffin Bay. In a few hours, the coasts of Canada and the United States would be flooded. He fell to his knees like a child, overcome by thoughts that had never before crossed his mind. An abyss was opening inside him, and it was just as frightening as the one in front of him. It wasn’t until his fitful breathing slowed and his lungs stopped burning that he was able to get back to the tawdry reality of his own situation.

He lay down again on the hardpacked snow. With his eye glued to the sight of his rifle, he found the trail that the dogsled had taken from the Great Wound of the Wild Dog. That’s where the team would emerge, heading for Josephine and the automated science base that sounded the great island’s sick heart. The Terre Noire geologists were known for their punctuality, but at two thousand euros an hour, he would wait if he had to. Say what you like, the end of the world was good business.

Paris, fourteenth arrondissement, 18 Rue Deparcieux, 11:30 a.m 

John Spencer Larivière put the phone down and shot Victoire a triumphant look. It was an expression she didn’t like.

“What’s got into you?” Victoire asked.

“North Land’s offering me a hundred thousand euros for a mission. I’ve got a meeting tomorrow with Abraham Harper’s wife, Geraldine.”

“Where?”

“She’ll let me know at the last minute.”

“What kind of a job?”

“She didn’t say.”

“She’s obviously going to ask you to investigate their European rivals, Terre Noire, Nicolas Lanier’s outfit. I don’t like it, John. Don’t go looking for trouble. Don’t forget you’re French. Remember where you come from.”

“Still, a hundred thousand euros…”

Victoire moved closer. Ever since John had set up his own business, he had agonized over not being able to measure up. They were in the red. She rarely saw him smile these days. She slipped her hand into his pants and confirmed what she’d already guessed. “That Canadian woman has an effect on you.”

“She does not.”

“Come here, you idiot.”

They had met working in the government intelligence agency Hubert de Méricourt directed. Victoire and John wanted to have a baby, which was why they had quit together to start Fermatown, their own strategic- and criminal-analysis company. As the daughter of a Cambodian Khmer Rouge survivor and a French diplomat, Victoire bore a heavy legacy. After a spectacular nervous breakdown and a period of uncompromising psychoanalysis, getting pregnant had become her obsession. She wanted a son who would look like his father, a good-looking hunk, five feet eleven, with irresistible blue eyes and the blond mane of a movie star. John was a real man with simple ideas, a gentle giant who could massage her feet while getting his Cambodian and Cantonese hopelessly mixed up.

They left the media room and stepped into the space they called the confessional, where they settled into the welcoming arms of the black sofa. Their clothes soon lay where Fermatown’s rare clients sat. John kneaded that supple body yet again and made Victoire’s cheeks glow. She opened her eyes wide and encouraged him with her dancer’s hips. They grabbed pleasure by the handful as though it were the last time. Or the first.

Putting aside their old wounds and disappointments, they made sweaty love, falling off the sofa and onto the teak floor. Now they were nothing more than two balls of rage. Watching as though he were outside himself, John pinned her delicate wrists to the floor and prepared his assault. Wildly, he thrust faster and faster, and, when the moment came, he grunted like an animal, shooting into this flesh that was torn, as he was, between two continents and two histories.

Out of breath, they slid next to each other. And then, holding hands and looking up at the ceiling, they started bickering again.

“With a hundred thousand euros, we could redo the kitchen and get new cars.”

“A hundred thousand euros and a bullet in the head. Don’t go there, John.”

“I’ll send Luc to Le Havre. That’s where Terre Noire has its lab. I saw something on television. They sent one of their ships to inspect the lava that spewed into the ocean the last time Eyjafjallajökull erupted in Iceland. It wouldn’t hurt to find out more.”

“This is way beyond us. Everything about the North Pole reeks of ashes and disaster.”

“I want to go there.”

“You just want to prove to yourself that you can still stick your neck out and act like an idiot. You’re worried about what your former colleagues think—all those people we wanted to get away from.”

“I’m sick of sitting around reading CVs all day. I didn’t start Fermatown to fact-check biographies and trawl through social networks looking for witnesses.”

“Typical man. Too proud to ask the agency to pay us an hourly rate.”

“You’re starting to annoy me!”

John bounded to his feet and ran upstairs to the bathroom. Victoire was right, and that put him in a foul mood. Ever since Afghanistan, he had failed at everything. He couldn’t even get her pregnant. He punched the railing of the staircase to the third floor. He had inherited this rambling four-story duplex and garden from an aunt. The property was situated between the Rue Déparcieux and the Rue Fermat, just outside the village on the Rue Daguerre.

Author

Bernard Besson, who was born in Lyon, France, in 1949, is a former top-level chief of staff of the French intelligence services, an eminent specialist in economic intelligence and Honorary General Controller of the French National Police. He was involved in dismantling Soviet spy rings in France and Western Europe when the USSR fell and has real inside knowledge from his work auditing intelligence services and the police. He has also written a number of prize-winning thrillers, his first in 1998, and several works of nonfiction. He currently lives in the fourteenth arrondissement of Paris, right down the street from his heroes.

Besson_240_small-206x300Come back Wednesday for my interview with Bernard Besson!

Originally posted 2013-10-28 09:47:52.

“Monday Mystery” – POCKET FULL OF POSIES

PocketPosies_800I have another new release to announce, this time from Julie Coulter Bellon, and it’s available on Amazon. Here’s a quick look:

They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer . . .

Hostage Negotiation Team member Bart Gutierrez is shocked to find Lucy Aguayo, a girl he knew as a teenager, working for the deadly Castillo drug cartel. This revelation uncovers a secret in Bart’s family so big it forces him to accept a dangerous offer: infiltrate the cartel to keep his family safe. Once inside the cartel’s headquarters he discovers that a large-scale attack on America is imminent and the only way to prevent it is to bring Lucy in on his plans—and hope she doesn’t betray him.

Synopsis

Detective Bart Gutierrez is surprised to see a woman from his past working for a drug cartel.  She isn’t the girl he remembers and he can’t understand what went so wrong that she’d resort to working for such a deadly organization. He ends up going undercover to infiltrate the cartel and hoping for a chance to convince her there’s a better life out there.  Can he do both without getting himself killed?

Lucy Aguayo has suffered the loss of her father at the hands of a cruel cartel leader. She will do anything to bring him down. When Bart enters her life again, he stirs up feelings and memories that make her question her life choices. Can she find justice for her father or should she work toward being free from her past? And where does Bart fit into this equation?

Excerpt

The pre-dawn air was still, as if even nature sensed the tension emanating from the group of agents and officers huddled near a police van. Bart Gutiérrez blew on his hands, the chill seeping through him. He felt keyed up, ready to get going with the high-risk arrest, but instead of doing anything productive, he was standing around impatiently while a bunch of suits took credit for staging the whole thing.

Special Response made sure everyone knew they’d scoped out the mission with high-resolution aerial photos. DEA put it out there that they’d confirmed the subject inside was, in fact, Arturo Pérez, second-in-command of the Castillo cartel. ICE and the Joint Terrorism Task Force piped in that they’d tracked him the minute his private plane had entered American air space. Only the FBI guys were silent. Bart decided he liked them. 

Author

Julie Coulter Bellon is the author of nine international romantic suspense novels and her book All Fall Down won the RONE award for 2012 Best Suspense/Thriller. Julie loves her work partly because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books. Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She taught journalism at BYU for fourteen years and that kept her on the cutting edge of current events and world news—which is where she gets her story ideas.

myauthorpic

Julie offers writing and publishing tips as well as her take on life on her blog ldswritermom.blogspot.com You can also find out about all her upcoming projects at her website juliebellon.com.

 

Originally posted 2013-10-21 06:00:05.

Jason Kills Off Cinderella’s Stepmother, Lady Tremaine

I haven’t posted a Jason update in a long while. To catch you all up, he’s finished all his Pathway courses . . . except the dreaded Math. He’ll be taking that one come January. In the meantime, he’s enjoying some freedom, and the only assignment he has these days is to learn how to make his own grilled cheese sandwiches. He’s halfway there and I’ll be posting about that next Friday, complete with pictures.

(Part of the reason we’re not pushing the driving, the math, or the mission right now is that we’re getting ready to list our house and looking into moving to Southern Utah. We want to downsize, be closer to both our families, and give Jason more opportunities to meet other LDS singles. But more about all of that in future posts.)

As I wrote on Monday, to help pass the time while driving down to Salt Lake City (and then on to St. George), I reviewed Agatha Christie’s writing methodology with Jason and proposed we give it a try. He agreed and so, first, we had to come up with a plausible victim who would have enemies.

JASON:  How about Lady Tremaine?

ME:  Who?

JASON:  You know, the stepmother from Disney’s “Cinderella?”

Lady Tremaine

ME:  Oh, yeah. Okay, she’ll do. Now we need to come up with the murder method.

He thought about that for a minute and shrugged. So I prodded his recollection of her fondness for shopping.

ME:  We could kill her off during a shopping trip in town.

JASON:  Huh? How?

ME:  Let’s see . . . since Agatha Christie was into poison, let’s come up with a really sneaky way to poison her while shopping.

JASON:  (No response)

ME:  Okay, how about this? . . . The killer applies an odorless poison to a dress Lady Tremaine has admired before, counting on the fact that she’ll likely try it on. Once she does, the toxic concoction seeps into her skin and 2-3 days later, she’s dead.

JASON:  Cool!

Now that we had the victim and the method all set, we had to determine the killer.

JASON:  It can’t be Cinderella and it can’t be the Prince. That would just be wrong.

Cinderella and the prince

ME:  Okay, who else wouldn’t like Lady Tremaine? Who else would have a motive and yet probably be overlooked by the reader?

JASON:  Maybe Anastasia would work.

ME:  Who?

JASON:  You know, the younger daughter. The one who was sort of kind to Cinderella . . . at least in the sequels.

Anastasia

ME:  That’s good. People probably wouldn’t suspect her because of that. But what would her motive be? Doesn’t she like her mother?

JASON:  Well, in the sequels, we find out that she doesn’t really like her mother’s iron grip on her life and that she just wants to be free to marry for love, not money. So that could be her motive.

ME:  Perfect! Now we need to figure out the motives for all the rest of the characters (not including the animals).

JASON:  Okay. Drizella, the eldest daughter, could have done it because she wants to inherit the family fortune sooner rather than later after her mother dies naturally.

Drizella

ME:  (Nodding) Good. Go on.

JASON:  Who else is there?

ME:  How about the dress shopkeeper? That’s where the murder takes place. Wouldn’t she naturally be a suspect?

JASON:  I guess, but what would her motive be?

ME:  I know. She could have done it because Lady Tremaine hasn’t been paying her bills on time and the woman is about to lose her shop.

JASON:  Hmm . . . that will do.

Finally, we needed to come up with the right detective to ferret out all the clues, with the help of Cinderella and the Prince, of course. Thinking back on the movie, that left only one possibility. It was apparent to me, but I had to bring Jason around to the realization.

ME:  Okay, Jason, who was the one in the film who went all over the countryside asking questions?

JASON:  Huh?

ME:  You know, he had a glass slipper and . . .

JASON:  Oh, you mean the Grand Duke?

grand duke 2

ME:  Exactly. Even though he’s kind of a bumbling fool, he’s the perfect type to put people off their guard while secretly he’s observing their behavior and asking all kinds of innocent questions.

JASON:  You mean his clumsiness is just an act?

ME:  Precisely. Now all we have to do is sit down and plot it out.

Et voilá. An Agatha Christie-styled murder mystery. Anyone want to write it? (We won’t for fear of being sued by Disney. Although perhaps Jason might give it a go as a piece of fan fiction. I’ll let you know if he does, but I can’t promise to post it here. He keeps his fan fiction private.)

In any case, it was a fun exercise and took a good bit longer in the car than it took you to read about it here. By the way, Jason helped create this post, so give him half the credit, okay?

Originally posted 2013-08-23 06:00:17.

“Monday Mystery” – À la Christie

Agatha Christie

Long considered the maven of murder, Dame Agatha Christie had a certain formula she followed in the beginning of her career as a mystery novelist. I know because I recently watched a PBS show about her in the series “Extraordinary Women” (see the YouTube clip below) and then followed up by checking a few websites dedicated to her work, including this one.

First came the murder itself. She would begin by determining the method, victim and perpetrator. Having worked as a nurse during WWI, she had become very familiar with toxic substances and so poison was a particular favorite of hers when it came to method.

After visualizing and jotting down the essentials of the crime, she would turn her attention to the perpetrator’s true motive. She felt that it needed to be such a transparent motive that the reader would easily cast it aside as “too obvious.”

Next, she developed the rest of the cast of suspects, never too large and their lives often interwoven in unusual ways. Each was assigned a plausible motive in order to further confuse the reader, as well as secrets they were hiding about themselves.

Finally, she’d outline a plot that included necessary clues and red herrings (though not so many as to overly complicate the story). Stir in the right detective to ferret out the truth, such as Hercule Poirot in her first book, THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES, and voila! A compelling page-turner of a mystery is born.

Mysterious_affair_at_stylesSo why am I reviewing Dame Christie’s method here? Because I want you all to understand that we put it to the test during my recent road trip to Utah. By “we,” I mean my son, Jason, and I. After all, there wasn’t a whole lot to talk about during our 10-hour drive south to Salt Lake City so we decided to make up a mystery à la Christie.

We only talked it through but if you check back here on Friday, we’ll share what we came up with.

Originally posted 2013-08-19 06:00:43.

“Monday Mystery” – COLD PURSUIT

Released just last month, Susan Dayley’s new interactive thriller is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in its ebook version. The reader gets to choose how they want the story to continue in this version and it’s on sale right now for $2.99. There is also a paperback version for more traditional readers.

ColdPursuitCoverHere’s a quick look:

Synopsis

The first time Kennady meets Atticus she is not impressed. The second time she is offended. But before the week is over, they team up to find out who sabotaged the secret alternative-energy device in the lab on the university campus. Filled with mystery suspense and romance, Cold Pursuit takes your reading experience to the next level.
This is an interactive book in the eBook format: there are links to music videos, recipes, clues, pictures etc. PLUS the story offers the reader the opportunity to choose how they want the story to go, with the possibility of 4 different endings!
Excerpt*

Kennady noticed the storm had stopped. The light from the street lamps created pink circles on the snow beneath them. The night had become dark, and tombstones were difficult to discern more than twenty feet away. Heavy trees overhead blocked any light that might have filtered through the clouds.

Neither Kennady nor Atticus spoke as they rounded the back of the chapel, moving through the deeper shadows cast by the stone building with its gothic-arched, stained-glass windows. Nobody was there.

“Grady?” Kennady called softly. “Where are you?” She swung the flashlight’s beam around her.

“Put the coil on the ground,” the now familiar voice called from her left.

She spun in that direction. Across the road, Grady stepped out from behind a large oak tree.

“So, you know who I am,” he said.

“Where’s my dog?” Kennady demanded, shining the light on his face.

“Show me the coil.”

. . .

Just as he made a move toward her, a figure rushed him from the shadows. It was Atticus. He leaped, tackling Grady at the waist and dragging him to the snow.

Kennady screamed. The two men struggled on the ground, rolling in the snow among the graves. . .

And then everything stopped. Atticus and Grady had rolled against a large granite tombstone, and a man’s head lay against the base as if a blow had knocked him out. He lay as still as the bones six feet beneath him. A dark stain spread in the snow. The top man rose and faced Kennady.

It was Grady. “Give me the coil or I’ll do the same to you,” he growled.

*The antagonist’s name was changed to prevent this from being a spoiler.

Author
Susan Dayley is the author of Redemption, a couple of stories that have appeared in anthologies, and numerous articles. She tutors in the mornings, attends classes at the local university, and loves to write. She recently had a party to launch COLD PURSUIT and pictures can be seen on her blog.
DSC_0121

Originally posted 2013-08-12 06:00:47.

“Monday Mystery” – A DASH OF MADNESS: A THRILLER ANTHOLOGY

Since this is an anthology, I’m forgoing the usual bios (because there would be too many), but this exciting collection of short thrillers was published by Xchyler Publishing and is available on Amazon both in paperback and e-book. Reviews can be read (and added) on Goodreads.

ADashOfMadness_Cover(That bloodshot eye is pretty gruesome, isn’t it?)

Here’s a quick look at the stories:

Synopsis

One man’s crazy is another man’s norm.

Eight bizarre stories explore twisted perceptions and challenge conceptions about right and wrong. With a fascinating dive into several unstable minds, the authors examine different avenues for exposing warped cognition and mutilated logic. Each delivers a disquieting glimpse of reality.

Reformation by M. Irish Gardner: With a fresh start in life, the last thing freed inmate Todd Jefferson wants to do is live someone else’s, until the pros outweigh the cons.

Mouse and Cat by Elizabeth Gilliland: Mouse knows his place: among the filth and remnants of mankind. When given a chance to change his fate, his choice reflects more than just the intentions of his heart.

Stunner by Sarah Hunter Hyatt: As a stranger in a new town, Marin Overstreet is forced to confront a past she didn’t know existed, and defeat the man sent to silence her forever.

Five Humvees by Breck LeSueur: Three lives, three errs in judgment. Countless consequences reside within this twisted military thriller.

Morningside by F.M. Longo: Back on duty, Detective Morningside must defy the odds and solve the impossible by delving into the criminal mind.

Kissed a Snake by Ben Ireland: Abandoned as a child, Jason only wants to understand his father’s reasons. And to kill him for it. However, learning the truth leads to anything but satisfaction.

Fogo by David MacIver: A neighborhood arson, a broken home, and an overactive imagination are the least of Renata’s worries, especially when her dreams creep into her real life.

Proxy by Tim Andrew: For Bret Maher, death is a perk on the job. But when he takes on a new contract with guaranteed success, he may get more than he bargained for.

Excerpt from “Reformation”

Rita picked up his plate a little later, and Todd continued to sit and think. His prison years had flown by. He hardly remembered a thing, but the biggest motivator he’d always kept as his focus, as his flotation device in a sea of hard reality, was his brother. Shawn. A man that seemed to have forgotten him.

Author and Editor

McKenna Gardner (aka M. Irish Gardner) earned her Bachelor of Science in 2003 from Brigham Young University – Idaho, where she first began writing and editing, and her love of classic literature blossomed. Previously a marketing director and 8th/9th grade educator, McKenna finds her position at Xchyler the winning combination of a career she enjoys and her greatest passion, her children.

McKenna

Originally posted 2013-07-29 11:39:29.

“Monday Mystery” – Mysteries, Suspense Novels, and Thrillers Are Like Driveways

This past week, we had our driveway torn up because of cracking and appearance issues.

photo 3 of driveway

We discovered, in the process, that the pipe for the sprinkler system had been placed just under the concrete surface where it was likely to bear the most weight and wear down.

photo 2 of drivewayphoto 1 of drivewaySo before the new driveway can be poured, a trench needs to be dug and a new pipe fitted to lie more deeply under the ground.

Brian, the guy doing our new driveway, explained that you’ve really got to watch out for builders cutting corners and getting away with it simply because it’s out of view. As he put it, “They come in here ready to pour concrete and they don’t care what’s already there. They’re just going to cover it up.”

Writers can’t be like that. We may be ready to pour out a whole novel’s worth of words, but we’ve got to make sure we’ve laid the proper foundation first. Why? Because our readers will hold us accountable. Particularly when it comes to mysteries, suspense, and thrillers. We have to place certain clues in the right places and in the right ways (there, but not too obvious) and we also have to be sure and include red herrings to keep things complicated enough. After all, our readers are going to be tearing up our “driveways” as they devour our stories and there had better not be any unacceptable surprises.

What kind of driveways are we constructing in the first place? Asphalt? Concrete? One made out of block pavers? It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between all three.

But where do you draw the line in terms of genre between mystery, suspense novel, and thriller?

Author and former literary agent Nathan Bransford came up with these distinctions:

  • Thrillers have action
  • Suspense has danger, but not necessarily action
  • Mysteries have mysteries (something you don’t know until the end)

Still confused? I am. After all, I think THE BOURNE IDENTITY and THE DA VINCI CODE has all three elements.

Another agent, Jessica Faust, says there are three different kinds of mysteries: the cozy (usually involving an amateur sleuth and not too many bloody bodies), the mystery (grittier and darker…definitely more blood), and the suspense/thriller (the darkest of the three…more about stopping a killer than solving a crime). Check out her explanation here.

There’s a fascinating post by novelist Janet L. Smith describing the conclusions of suspense master, Alfred Hitchcock:

  • Suspense has no relationship to fear
  • It’s the state of waiting for something to happen
  • Therefore, the viewer or reader must be informed of an awful, impending event in order to be held in suspense, rather than merely surprised when it happens

Smith points out that a mystery, on the other hand, “is a novel of revelation, with action more mental than physical.” In this case, the audience is not kept informed.

And here’s one final analysis by Maeve Maddox.

Let’s say Mystery is Asphalt, Suspense is Concrete, and Thrillers are those driveways built with block pavers. What kind of driveway do you specialize in, and why? Please let me know in a comment below. I’m interested to find out which is most popular these days.

 

Originally posted 2013-07-22 17:40:31.

“Monday Mystery” – MOTIVE FOR MURDER

I’m starting something new here involving suspense.

Beginning today, my Monday postings will be about mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels.

The postings will be either reviews of suspense novels that I choose (no requests, please), musings about the mystery, suspense, and thriller genres in general, or announcements of new releases. (Here, I will welcome requests from authors . . . If you’ve got a new mystery, thriller, or suspense novel coming out, just send me a basic synopsis, a short excerpt of around 100 words or less, and a brief bio, along with a cover image and your author photo.)

Some of you may recall that I had originally set aside Mondays for various things attached to the acronym MOLESKIN–one of my favorite writing product lines. But it became too complicated to keep track of . . . hence, the change.

I’m kicking it off this week with an announcement of a new release: Marlene Bateman’s MOTIVE FOR MURDER: An Erica Coleman Mystery. Published only last month, it’s available on Amazon and at all LDS bookstores, including Deseret Book and Seagull.

A Motive for Murder_High resolution

Here’s a quick look:

Synopsis

Meet Erica Coleman—a gifted and quirky private investigator with an OCD-like passion for neatness and symmetry, a penchant for cooking, (ten terrific recipes are included), and a weakness for chocolate.

Erica imagined that her trip to Florida would be a slice of heaven—a chance to get away from it all and catch up with her best friend, Wendy. But one day into her vacation, all hope of fun in the sun is dashed when she stumbles, literally, over a dead man on Wendy’s driveway. With police closing in on her friend as their main suspect, Erica must find the real killer before Wendy ends up behind bars.

With Erica’s skill, solving the mystery should be a piece of cake but then a second homicide attempt hits close to home and generates a whole new list of suspects. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. A murderer is on the prowl, and no one is above suspicion.

As the plot thickens, it appears Erica may have bitten off more than she can chew, but she forges on, sifting through mounting evidence until she hones in on the killer who has a surprising motive for murder. With a dash of romance and some surprising twists, this thrilling mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

 

Excerpt

“As she drove back to Wendy’s house, the headlights cleaved the darkness and shone through the rain, which was falling harder now. Erica parked across the street and was nearly to Wendy’s door when she stopped suddenly, catching herself as she nearly fell over something.

It was the still figure of a man lying face down on the driveway. He was strangely unmoving. The light from the porch illuminated a puddle alongside him, which was growing bigger by the second. A chill shivered down Erica’s spine as she noticed that the puddle was streaked by dark red threads that ran and merged with rivulets of rain.”

 

Author

Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah.  She graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they are the parents of seven children.

MarleneBateman_238x287

Her hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading.  Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and has written a number of non-fiction books, including:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, and Brigham’s Boys. Marlene also wrote the best-selling novel, Light on Fire Island.

A busy writer, Marlene is set to have three books published this year. Gaze Into Heaven, a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences in early church history, was published earlier this year. Now we have Motive for Murder, the first in a mystery series featuring the quirky Erica Coleman. Later in July, Heroes of Faith, a collection of stories about people who risked their life for the gospel, will be released by Cedar Fort Inc. You can learn more about Marlene at her website.

Originally posted 2013-07-15 06:00:53.

Special Deal on Mystery E-books

For those of you who have read my interviews with French authors published by Le French Book, you might want to grab up their terrific titles today while they’re still being offered on Kindle for just ninety-nine cents! The offer ends at midnight.

Here’s the link to buy.

This is a great deal for great books by great authors, including one I haven’t yet interviewed: David Khara, who wrote THE BLEIBERG PROJECT (A CONSORTIUM THRILLER), winner of the Blue Moon Award for Best Thriller.

The Bleiberg Project

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

An adrenaline-packed ride to save the world from a horrific conspiracy straight out of the darkest hours of history. 

Are Hitler’s atrocities really over? For depressive Wall Street trader Jeremy Corbin, absolute truths become undeniable lies overnight. He finds out his long-lost father is dead, he discovers his boss’s real identity, and he ends up boarding a plane to Zurich. He has a Nazi medallion in his pocket, a hot CIA bodyguard next to him, and a clearly dangerous Mossad agent on his tail. What was his father investigating? Why was his mother assassinated? Why are unknown sides fighting over him with automatic weapons? Can the conspiracy be stopped? This fast-paced thriller full of humor and humanity was an instant sensation in France. Think a dash of Robin Cook, a splash of John Grisham, and pinch of Clive Cussler with a very distinctive voice all it’s own.

Originally posted 2013-06-21 11:27:40.

“Thriller Thursdays” – Suspense of “The Bourne Identity” More Complex

Present word count of WIP:  60,234 (Yes, I’ve been dead in the water when it comes to writing…somewhat like Ludlum’s protagonist in the beginning.)

Between the Olympics, gearing up for a book launch and being held in suspense over the final cover of my next novel, it was all I could do to get my reading in, but I did! I actually finished Robert Ludlum’s classic spy thriller, “The Bourne Identity” last Thursday…at about 11:27 pm. Too late to blog about it.

But it gave me time to watch the two movies based on the story. You see, I had thought I’d read this before, but I didn’t remember half of the plot in the book, mainly due to the more recent film version with Matt Damon. The film with Damon was so terrific that it effectively supplanted the plot of the novel in my mind.

Confused, I did a little investigating and came to discover there was a film version put out for television back in the 80’s starring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith. While it was much truer to the book, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much…and it wasn’t just because of the acting (Jaclyn Smith made me cringe).

 Is that a reflection on Ludlum’s novel? I think so, yes. While his plot is more complex and the writing is tightly-paced (I’ve never seen so many sentence fragments), I began to grow tired of the hero’s struggles to regain his memory. The book was very tied in to current headlines and, having lived through the 80’s, I remember the terrorist/assassin named “Carlos” and how the newspapers bandied about his name every time there was some high-profile attack.

(Spoiler Alert): While the book makes Jason Bourne struggle to come to terms with the possibility that he is this “Carlos,” it eventually clarifies that he isn’t, that he was a good guy working for the U.S. all along, not killing but faking kills in order to draw out the competitive Carlos. While Ludlum writes short sentences, he writes an awful lot of them and, at a certain point, the material just seemed too dense, the psychological struggling too repetitive.

I found the approach taken by Tony Gilroy in the Matt Damon film to be much more compelling: There was no Carlos, or if so, then Jason Bourne (and others like him) filled that role. Bourne was, indeed, a bad guy who did bad things (even if he was brainwashed to do them) and, once he realizes it, he has to find a way to live with himself and try to change his life.

I’m giving it 3.5 stars.

Favorite quote:

“Nothing makes a man more nationalistic than to think his country’s owned by foreigners. He can adjust in time to losing a war–that only means the enemy was stronger–but to lose his economy means the enemy was smarter.”

Next up: Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood…and from what I’ve read so far, I think this will be a 5-star read!

And stay tuned tomorrow. I believe I’ll be unveiling my cover!

Originally posted 2012-08-16 15:21:49.